Any weight loss journey, whether it is to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, can feel daunting. Many people want to know when they will start losing weight and while almost all of our patients begin losing weight right away, this is a really tough question to answer and here’s why:

Things that affect weight loss

There are so many different factors that go into weight loss. Some of the most important are gender, metabolism, starting weight, age, fitness levels, and other genetic factors. Theoretically, if one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, a reduction of 500 calories per day equals a 3,500 calorie reduction per week which would lead to one pound of fat loss. However, when you lose one pound, it is not just fat. That pound is a mixture of fat, muscle, and water. It is nearly impossible to know exactly how much fat is lost with each pound.

The key component to weight loss is consistency. Maintaining a 500 calorie deficit each week will cause weight loss. The best way to reach this deficit is through a diet filled with low-calorie fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and moderate physical activity for an extra boost.

Remember: You did not gain weight overnight. It took weeks, months, and years of overeating, even if it was slightly over, to achieve weight gain. It will also take some time and consistency to lose the extra weight.

Shift your focus to what you can control

Some of these factors that affect weight loss, like genetics, age, gender, and metabolism are things you are not able to control. Focus on the things that you can control such as your diet and exercise. If you feed your body healthy foods, your body will use that nutrition to fuel your body for your daily activities. You will notice that your energy levels will increase and your sleep will improve. Reducing your stress levels is also important because research shows that increased stress increases waistlines.

Forget about what you can’t control

If only we could all be teenagers again with rapid-fast metabolism and boundless energy, without the insecurities, we’d be set for life! Unfortunately our bodies change as we age and much of this is out of our control. Women are at an even bigger disadvantage because oftentimes your bodies are naturally smaller than a man’s body. A 200 pound male and 130 pound female have very different dietary needs. But when you go out to a restaurant for example, there is not a separate menu for small females and larger males. It really seems unfair! Shift your focus to the things you can control, such as diet and exercise, and forget about the stuff that you cannot control, even if you fear it is holding you back.

Focus on the results you are having

The process of losing weight can feel overwhelming and it requires patience. Don’t focus on all of the things you feel like you are not “allowed” to eat. This might make you obsess over those foods (not to mention that we are not fans of complete restriction of food groups). Are you feeling better? Do you feel less bloated? Do you have more energy? Are you able to exercise more? Do you feel more alert? Are your joints feeling less pressure? Are you sleeping more deeply? Has your sex drive increased? Weight loss and proper nutrition affects all of these areas, and while the process might seem slow, there are many immediate benefits to watch out for!

The bottom line

At the end of the day, the majority of our weight loss patients begin losing weight right away. In fact, many people lose more than a couple of pounds within the first week because the body flushes out excess fluid retention caused by inflammatory foods. If you have been trying to lose weight and that weight loss has stalled for more than a week or two, there could be something else going on.

Be patient with yourself and train your inner voice to be encouraging rather than degrading. You are doing your best, and while you may have lots of room for improvement, you’re also taking the first steps towards a healthier, more energetic and pain-free lifestyle. Good for you! You should be proud.

You can do this!